wicked alice| fall 2010

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Leigh Phillips


 The Ethical Slut is on Your Nightstand


I don’t want to talk about my lack of occupational skills or this partly clouded century. Weather bores me, except when it swallows. I want barefoot anomalies, to wrench lust from the lemon that spits. My favorite word is concave. My favorite sentence is “you angel me”. I miss angeling, to verb the angel. You angel me. You star the stipple. I wish we could speak in couplets, spin antisonnets to sleep, trace the ligaments of figurative bodies that believe more in the mystic than temporal hereness. One metaphor will move me to move you the next. This is a metaphor. Turn it upside down and love the petals as they dry. This is not a metaphor. All beauty is irrational. This is how it never happened. Boys, you’re so beautiful when you’re not fucking me. Girls, your shoulder blades shatter me into stammer. This is not imagery. This is how it happened. In the mirror she says, “I can’t remember what my lips are for.” This is metaphor. In the mirror she says, “Not reaching. Banging.” This is a fragment. Echo seeking echo. Hobbies include: nobody who you are, repetition, special collections. Archive yellowing letters in a shoebox, pennies minted in Detroit, birthday cards from 1986. And so it goes and goes. This is how we weave. I save your signature burned into my breast. You are out like a drunken pilot. The wings burn my chest, a synthetic sunset. See, everything glows as you know me. Ash between the thumb and finger, how you hooked and wore into me like a coat. I save pennies for a century. I save for the flat pressed hand on my chest, the “feel your music in here” exhale. This is how to see, because I know how to not be seen. Tell the truth in me when you’re in me, and I’ll say how beautiful you are when you're gone.





Leigh Phillips’ work has appeared in Squid Quarterly, Connecticut River Review, Paterson Literary Review, Lodestar Quarterly, and Fringe.